Friday, December 26, 2008

Colours has tagged me to write about 'the year 2008 for me'...and twin souls that we are and have been, I was already thinking of doing that anyway.

Come to think of it, there were some really significant and life-enhancing things that happened this year, I think... And there have been more good than bad...

--> 2008 began on quite a wonderful note. There is this old school mate whom I met online after 15 years and who quickly became a very good friend. I got to meet him with family after almost 1.5 years of only online interaction on the New Year's day!

--> Also it was a new year spent in the home town after several years and that made it great too...there IS a special atmosphere in Kerala for Christmas and New Year which I love!

--> Finalized and booked an apartment in the hometown...I am really looking forward to the completion of the project this year!

--> Started contributing significantly to the company's business in the region being the sole presales person and also learnt to work alone without a team or even a colleague...

--> Started travelling a lot within and outside the country on work...and travelling and regularly meeting new people does build one's confidence!

--> Started blogging!!!! And more importantly reading blogs! I have discovered a wonderful new world out there and even made a few friends in the blogsphere!

--> Watched with pride as my daughter stepped into the world of dance...knowing that no one can debate where those genes came from!

--> Resumed learning dance and dancing regularly after a break of almost 10 years. This is something I sure look forward to keep doing for a long time to come! It has done wonders to my mind and body. I can just see my stamina improve after each class and what it does to my mind is just beyond words!

--> Discovered that an old classmate and friend works and stays close by. Already had a few girls only chat sessions with her...hope to do a lot more of that next year!!! :D

--> A better apartment and a new car here...and lot of good times with the family...times that make me thank God for His blessings...

--> Continue missing all the great friends who were around while in India....but having a good time in the company of whatever little extended family is available in this foreign land.

--> Learning things about myself and how I react to situations faced in life and not so sure I like some of those...maybe I should focus on some self improvement in the new year!!!!

--> Facing the eternal dilemma in work life - a job with more learning or one with more money? A job that gives more freedom or a hi-fi designation? A job that gives me less than what it takes from me or an MBA to further my career?

And now comes the new year that brings with it another great dilemma - job, travel, learning and dance or a new baby!!! :)) Well... I sure am interested in seeing what 2009 has to offer me!!!

HopPIN' Mad!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A few days back, my husband took my ATM card and went to get some money. He forgot the pin and managed to successfully lock my card. Didn't think of giving me a call after the second mistake and getting the right PIN.And don't think I change my PIN every other week. I have had the same PIN number for the last 10 years...across banks and countries!!!!

So now I was stuck with an ATM card that didn't work and as luck would have it the internet banking also stopped working at the same time.

Now whenever it comes to calling up anything - movie booking, ordering food and groceries, directory enquiries...just about automatically becomes my job. So naturally, calling up the bank to fix the problem became my job too.

And when I don't like to do something or it is not absolutely urgent, I normally postpone I kept putting off calling the bank and my husband kept reminding me to call every day.

Finally after almost 7-8 weeks, I finally called up the bank call center.

CCGuy: "Welcome to ... bank. This is ... How can I help you?'
Me: Hi... well, you know...I entered the wrong pin and now my ATM card is locked (how I hate to admit to some mistake which I did not make!!!) Can you reset it for me?
CCGuy: Yes, Ma'am. Can I ask you some questions for security reasons.
Me: (sigh! Here they come!) Yes!
CCGuy: What is your date of birth?
Me: (That is easy) DD-MM-YYYY. (I don't LOOK that old..really!)
CCGuy: Where was your passport issued?
Me: (That is easy,too) Trichy
CCGuy: Which branch did you open your account in?
Me: (Not bad) Bur Dubai branch
CCGuy: What is your account balance?
Me: (Oh-oh!!) hmm.. I really do not know..since I did not have the card, I haven't checked for a long time.
CCGuy: Okay, can you tell me your last withdrawal amount and date????
Me: (WHAT?) was some time back..I really do not remember.. the last deposit could be my salary transfer of xxxx amount, I think (the company could have reimbursed my claims too along with the salary)
CGuy: (Very disbelieving) hmm...okay...fine, we will reset the PIN to the initial number.
Me: (WOW! That was not so bad) You mean the last PIN that I had before it got locked?
CCGuy: No Ma'am.. the PIN which the bank sent you when you first got your card.
Me: (What!!! 3 years back???) Oh no, I may not remember that! Will you mail me the PIN or something, please
CCGuy: (What an idiot!!!) No Ma'am we cannot do that.
Me: (boo hoo!) Oh..then what CAN I do???
CCGuy: You can apply for a new card right now. It will be sent to you by courier in a week's time.
Me: (sigh!) Okay, please do that.

After a week, I receive the new card by courier. The card comes with a letter that says the PIN will not be sent but I can call up the call center and set a new PIN.

Sigh!So I call again.

None of the 10 options the recorder lady said sounded right. So I dial 0 for an agent.

CCGuy: "Welcome to ... bank. This is ... How can I help you?'
Me: Hi... well, you know..I just received a new debit card and I want to set my PIN.
CCGuy: Sure Ma'am what's your card number?
Me: xxxxxxxx
CCGuy: Now I'd like to ask you some security questions
Me: (sigh!) yeah, okay
CCGuy: What is your date of birth?
Me: DD-MM-YYYY. (I don't LOOK that old..really!)
CCGuy: Where was your passport issued?
Me: Trichy
CCGuy: Which branch did you open your account in?
Me: Bur Dubai branch
CCGuy: What is your account balance?
Me: I didn't have the card for a long I don't know. :(
CCGuy: Okay, can you tell me your last withdrawal amount and date????
Me: I am sorry...last deposit could be my salary.
CCGuy: You have had some other transfers from your company in India. Can you tell me those.
Me: (Huh???) I am sorry. I have no idea.
CCGuy: What is the email id you have given in the bank for your records
Me: Can you tell me if it yahoo or gmail?
CCGuy: (oh dear, how do I help this woman!) Can you tell me any transaction you did any time in the last 3 months?
Me: (dear me!!!) Okay..give me a second..let me see if I have any old statements with me....(Does this guy have any idea how difficult it is to find ANYTHING in my bag!!!! is one statement of October!!!) Hey..I could find are 3 transactions!
CCGuy: (phew!!!) That's great Ma'am. I have activated your card now! You can now log on to your telebanking and change your ATM PIN. I will tell you the steps for changing the PIN. I hope you remember your telebanking PIN!!!
Me: (Telebanking!!! Did I have a telebanking facility??? I had NO IDEA!) I'm sorry...I really don't think I'd remember...though I could give it a try...(If I have set the PIN, I know what it would be..heh..heh)
CCGuy: No problem Ma' try it and if it fails, you will be transferred back to us and we will reset your telebanking PIN for you!!! Have a good day Ma'am!!!

Hummmphh!!! He expected me to have a good day after that last statement! Well...he was a cute-sounding guy, I admit. Well to cut a long story short, I did not know the telebanking PIN and I got CCGuy no 3 and answered all his questions (this one also asked me my mother's name) and very sceptically he reset my telebanking PIN!!!

They announce that they might record the conversation for training purposes. I bet they use mine to train the guy how to help women who remember NOTHING!

Now they say for fixing my internet banking problem, I have to call another number!!!! If anyone tells me banking has become easier these days, I shall scream!!!


Monday, December 15, 2008

I guess one of my New year resolutions should be to be more regular in blogging. I've been doing only blog reading and no blogging for several weeks now. The excuse is defintiely lot of work and not enough time. But then, that I guess is just that, an excuse.

It is true that I have been doing more work than before. Like most companies, my company also has decided to use the recession as an excuse to remove people, cut salaries, stop increments and promotions, hold recruitment...the works! The result is that there has been no replacement for the 2 people who left last year and there is no one even for the admin job. So the people who are left out are overloaded and playing all kinds of roles. A friend of mine in the US could not believe himself...he was working more after the salary cut!!!

Well...anyway...I guess one has to be thankful for the job one has these I am not cribbing....

And then there were the eid holidays! 5 days at a stretch... what bliss! We took off to Muscat and had a great family gettogether.Time spent going places, talking, laughing, driving and playing Uno!

There was also another small reason that I did not know what to write about. With things like the Mumbai terror attacks happening, writing about anything else seemed so trivial. And writing about it seemed so difficult because anything one says would sound cliched and inadequate.

I have also been thinking.

When people talk about life, they say life is short and that we should live life to the fullest and enjoy every moment. But does that mean that we just do what gives us pleasure at the moment without thinking about the future, without looking at the larger picture? We now know that what seemed life changing and huge while we were younger, say in school or college, was really not as big as it seemed then. Is it not the same now as well?

I don't know...if any of you could make out anything from my rambling, let me know what you think!

On parties and things like that...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

This is one post that has been long overdue.

I promised to update you all on how my trip went.

Well..the trip went quite well. Thank you all for the words of encouragement after that last cribby post!

I was able to complete the task on time as per the plan. Thankfully, there were no glitches. This was only the first phase of the project...the rest would come some time in February or March once the customer is ready for the actual implementation. So, for now, it is waiting time.
There were no problems on the home front either...father daughter team managed quite well... even though the husband took instant revenge by taking off to China for 3 weeks(!!!) as soon as I got back!

This weekend,I arranged a birthday party for my daughter at home. She invited her friends from the school and the day care. We ordered a huge vanilla cake (she chose one that was shaped like a book!). I planned a few party games and ordered Happy Meals for the kids from Mc Donalds. I wouldn't have dared to do a party on my own while the hubby was travelling...but since the brother-in-law and the cousin brother were around to help out with the decorations, picking up the cake and the food and for general helping around, it was no trouble at all...

The party was sheer fun! I was a little doubtful about the games I had chosen...but I need not have been!!! Kids these days are so amazingly smart that they never fail to amaze us elders!

I realised that I had totally underestimated them while planning the games. We had a game where the teams had to pick a piece of paper in which an occupation was doctor, nurse, postman, policeman. The kids were divided into two teams and one person from the team had to do a dumb charade of the occupation he/she picks up. The others in the team had to guess! Being old fashioned, I had picked simple stuff like doctor, dancer, postman, teacher ...and the kids were making guesses like immigration department...banker...chef!!!! Oh dear....we adults were put to shame!!!

And how the kids talk!!! There was one little guy who wanted to win every hook or by crook! He tried to bribe me...refused to have 'babies' in his team (Couple of kids had brought their younger siblings along)...blamed his team when they couldn't guess what he was doing in the charades game...made up brilliant stuff in the 'I spy' game...just kept shocking and amusing us elders in turns!!! We couldn't help but wonder how he would turn out in a few years' time out in the real world!

And there was this little 7 year old girl who, as she was leaving after the party, touched the chain I was wearing and said 'Nice pendant, aunty'...sounding so much like a young lady!!! It took me a few seconds to find my senses and thank her for her appreciation!

The end result of the party is a lot of yummy cake,chocolate milk and ice cream in my refrigerator... to test my willpower!!!!

Career Cribs!!!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I have been doubting my abilities.

Ever since I started working some 10 years ago, my work has been appreciated. I have been told that I am sincere, committed and pay attention to detail. My superiors have always loved having me in their team. I have been given tasks with the confidence that I will complete it on time and with quality. The current job has been no exception. The latest compliment I received from my big boss, the VP, was that the company needs clones of me!!!

But recently, I started doubting if my way was the best way after all.

Like I mentioned in one of my earlier posts, I have a challenging assignment coming up. It is challenging because it is outside the scope of my current profile and hence I have not been trained for it and I have not done it before. I know I can do it with some extra preparation from my side. But the problem is that for me to do my work well, there are some dependent tasks that someone else has to do. Also, even if not a formal training, I need someone to answer my questions and clear my doubts while I do my preparation. This has not been planned. No one has been planned for any of this. The reasons for this is manifold and not worth going into here... let us just say ignorance and a lot of politics!

So what has been happening is that I have to use my personal relationships with people and my inherent charm to get any help! I tell you, it is exasperating! It is just not fair that I have to be begging and waiting for the things that I feel is my right to have! But unfortunately, the other people are also justified in doing what they are doing...and me being born into this zodiac sign that stands for justice, cannot help but see that.

My experience has been that however tough is the task at hand, if you prepare well for it and remember God, you come out successful. This has been my experience right from school to this day. It is another matter that I prepare only just in time for the task. But I prepare all right! I don't know if I am right...I could just be very lucky.

But in this case, I had started feeling quite helpless! And if I am not prepared for the task, I get tense and worried. I am not one of those cool guys who just walk in ready to face anything that happens. I started thinking that I probably should be like that! My husband also said that sometimes you just have to be cool and stop wanting to be perfect in everything that you do. I felt that maybe he was right...maybe I should just stop worrying and trying to get help and do what I can with what I have.

But I was not able to stop worrying and so what I have been doing is to make the best use of what I have. Do whatever I can do on my own or get help from what little sources I have available.

But now things have slowly started falling into place. I have been able to get my hand on the product set up that I am going to use and do some testing on it. It will not be complete till the moment I start my work but still I have started feeling better. And yesterday the very people who were unable to help me were surprised that I had been doing my preparation with whatever limited resources I have and even paid me a compliment saying they wished they had more people like me in the team. It did not make me feel good but at least I was glad to know that my way is not totally wrong!

Personally also, I think this experience has helped me. I have found out who my real friends are. I know now who would help me for my sake and who would only do things if they have an advantage in doing it. Even when it comes to work, it is nice to have friends on whom you know you can depend.

It certainly doesn't help matters that to complete this task, I have to travel to another country and stay there for 10 days leaving my family to fend for themselves. I haven't stayed away this long before leaving the father and daughter alone. For all I know, though he doesn't lift a little finger when I'm around, he is going to do a better job than me when I'm gone. Men are like that! :) I hope they don't learn to manage without me... I like to feel needed and important!

So, finally, what all this rambling amounts to is that I'm off on this official trip starting next week...and will be away for a few days! Will let you all know how it went once I get back!

Tagging Away!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's her again! Tagged by the Reflector!

And how I wish I could think of some funny answers!!!! I couldn't. So here goes my serious answers to the tag...and its all more of less hypothetical when you are someone who has been married for almost 10 years and are the mother of a seven year old. Maybe I should answer the tag again as I would have answered it some 10-12 years back.. ;)

If your lover betrayed you, what will your reaction be?

Ahh... a hypothetical question! Someone betray ME?? Hah! Anyway...I guess it would be 'He that betrayeth is no lover'... :)

If you can have a dream come true, what would it be.

I guess world the company of anyone to whom I can talk 24 hours without getting bored....

Whose butt would you like to kick?

One of the caretakers sin my daughter's daycare... someone so unpleasant and impatient has no right to be doing such a beautiful job!!!

What would do with a billion dollars?

I'd save some, spend some and give away some!

Will you fall in love with your best friend?

I might... but I used to hate it when friends fell in love with me... :(

Which is more blessed: loving someone or being loved by someone?

Being loved... loving someone is half blessing and half curse....

How long do you intend to wait for someone you love?

Till we fall out of love with each other... which is bound to happen...

If the person you secretly like is attached, what will you do?

Assuming it's an attachment that he cannot break, I would ensure that I do nothing that makes me lose his company forever...

If you could root for one social cause, what would it be?

Food and healthcare for every child in the world.

What takes you down the fastest?

An Escalator??? (yahoo... finally a funny answer!)

Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Helping my daughter prepare for her 12th standard board exams.. ;)

What’s your fear?

That my daughter will fall ill.... I'm silly but unable to get over that fear...

What kind of person do you think the person who tagged you is?

Friendly and fun!

Would you rather be single and rich or married and poor?

It would be an impossible task for anyone to stay single AND rich for long....

If you fall in love with two people simultaneously who will you pick?

Do people do that??? If there is one place where I cannot do multi-tasking, it is falling in love... one after the other, maybe...but not together...

Would you give all in a relationship?

All my love, yes.... but I'd like to keep my independence and my friends please...

Would you forgive and forget someone no matter how horrible a thing he has done?

I don't know...haven't had anyone do anything horrible to me... or did I just forget???

Do you prefer being single or in a relationship?

In a relationship... I'm a die-hard romantic!

Now I need to tag someone. And Nancy has tagged everyone who reads my blog! But then my twin is you dare do this??? ;)

And read2blew, I think you would have some interesting (read Mean!!!) answers to these questions...Wanna try???

Just some random thoughts....

Sunday, September 21, 2008

I am so bored!

I have nothing interesting or challenging to do. In fact, there is a very challenging assignment looming ahead, but the dates are uncertain. The planned date for that work has been getting extended for the last 3 weeks and I still do not know when it will come. In the meanwhile, I have nothing to do but prepare myself for the task coming up....And it's so difficult to find the motivation for the preparation without a date or a deadline!

So far, I had been finding this job interesting. It had a little bit of everything in it. A little bit of business development, a little bit of presales, a little bit of administration, a little bit of consultancy, a little bit of project management. I usually stay motivated as long as I find myself learning something new. But suddenly, I find that missing. I'm not sure if it is just a temporary slowdown. I hope it is.

It also does not help in anyway that of my two best online companions, one is totally offline and the other is terribly busy!

So, I decided to improve my mind and do some serious reading. Business articles and stuff.

I really liked two of the articles I read in The McKinsey Quarterly.

One was on how talented women thrive in leadership or career. The first point the article spoke about was that we should try and make our work more meaningful. It said that we should be honest with ourselves on what we are good at and then build those things into our everyday activities. Sounded good, I thought.

So what am I good at? Honestly!!! Based on my experience so far, I think I'm good at dealing with people. I usually am trusted and liked by superiors, subordinates, peers and customers. I am good at communicating using different modes - emails, documents, conference calls, presentations. I prepare well and work hard. I am good at learning new stuff.

I need to improve a lot in terms of planning, handling commercial stuff, negotiation and a whole lot of stuff like that.

Considering these, I think many of my strengths do play a significant role in my current profile - like presentation, customer/prospect handling and communication. What I miss is just having lot of people around me.

The other article spoke about business technology trends to watch out for.

In the recent time, I think my attitude towards entrepreunership has undergone a change.

Having been brought up in a family with only 'working' people and no 'business' people, I have had this dread for anything risky that doesn't bring a regular monthly income. But now, I think I'm more open to the idea.

For one, I sincerely feel that one should make a career out of what one loves to do. And for another, I think that if the end is good, it would justify the means. What I mean is that if you are successful at what you are doing, no one would care how you reached there. And if you have great ideas backed by a solid plan of execution, why should it not work?

This other article spoke of how modern technology and communication would help new businesses to thrive. It spoke of co-creation of a product by people or teams that are geographically separated. It spoke of how a business can make use of freelancers anywhere in the world to get the work done.

There is so much more opportunity these days for people with innovative ideas and plans. Wouldn't it be so thrilling to have one of your pet ideas succeed!!!

So how would it be if I went into freelance software development???

A weekend saga...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I have become a grandmother!

Well, it is not the Palin story that I had a daughter when I was 17 who has in turn become a mother at 17! It's just that my 7 year old has adopted a little teddy bear as her baby and this means that my husband and I become grandparents to it. It's not easy. I now have to wake the baby as well as its mother, tell stories to both of them and take care of the baby when its mother goes to The baby, christened Brums, by the way, is permanently covered in my daughter's blue and white duppatta. She says it is Brums's favourite 'blankee'!!! It is nice to see the mother in my little loving and tender!

I remember my first doll. I named her Smitha...what an unimaginative name! All of my childhood I yearned for one of those dolls that would open and close its eyes. I was fascinated by them but never managed to own one! All my dolls were still and boring...and quite scary once I finished dressing them up. So one of the first dolls I got for my daughter was ablinking and singing one!

Today, I feel extremely positive and happy!

It must be because of a weekend well spent, I guess... despite the fact that the weekend began with an argument over the telephone, with my boss, who was being thick headed and refusing to understand what I was trying to say.

I should not brag but I have to say that I did some fabulous cooking for Onam. I made a spread that would have made Mahabali proud...saambar, aviyal, stew, erissery, pineapple pachadi and cabbage thoran. But the best part was that I made two payasams as per tradition...a black one and a white one. Parippu prathaman made of jaggery and coconut milk and the standard semiya paayasam. I am so proud of myself!!! Well done, Me, I say!!! :D

And today's positivism is purely because I'm back to doing something I love doing more than anything else...learning dance...Nothing can lift my spirits more than two hours of solid Bharatanatyam. It's true that the old stamina is missing and I need to put in some extra effort since the 'style' I'm learning now is different from what I learnt for 15 years...but what the heck! I'm loving it!!!

Hence, I'm feeling quite unlike my usual self and more like King Khan singing 'I'm the best...I'm the best..I'm the best' !!!

And the award goes to.............

Monday, September 8, 2008

I'm thrilled! I have received an award for my blog content and design. Thank you, Nancy!!!! Since I consider myself a baby in the blogosphere, this is indeed a great honour!
As per the rules, I'd like to pass on this award to some blogs I love to read. Some of them are so popular that me giving them the award is like Filmfare giving an award to Tom Hanks. And I'm sure they have received as many awards for their blogs as Yesudas has received Best singer awards. But then, I do so enjoy reading what they write, so here goes....
Tys for his amazing sense of humour and brilliant posts that make you laugh every single time!
Bikerdude for his brilliant writing and inimitable illustrations that make his readers avidly wait for his posts...
PS because I love all her posts, both bubblegums and candies!!!
Reflections, whose open and friendly personality and carefree attitude is reflected in all that she writes. (Didn't see a rule that said I cannot award the awarder!)
Colours, my best friend, whose photography blog, I think, is lovely.
And read2blew, a dear friend, who refuses to post in his blog because he does not meet his own expectations. Writing is only one of his many talents, and I do hope he starts posting again! :)
Now the rules are:
1. When you receive the prize you must write a post showing it, together with the name of who has given it to you, and link them back.
2. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs (or even more) that you find brilliant in their content or design.
3. Show their names and links and leave them a comment informing they were prized with ‘Brillante Weblog'.
4. Show a picture of those who awarded you and those you give the prize(optional).
5. And pass it on!

The case of the missing weeks...

I am back in the desert city after a month of vacation - after experiencing Cochin rains and roads...Bangalore traffic and Chennai crowds.

Now I have a serious problem! I am unable to account for the first 2 weeks of our vacation. It's a mystery where those two weeks went! The third week, I remember, we spent 3 days in Bangalore and then 3 days in Chennai. The fourth week was spent literally running from one home to another finishing visits.

But the first two weeks? Where are they??? I shall never know!

And what is the outcome of our vacation? Family members feel they did not get any time with us. We wonder what happened to all those planned visits to the dentist and the doctor. And what about those temples we wanted to visit? How come we did not go to ANY temple this time?

I know..I know...I should not least I get to go on a vacation every year...but guys..but I just cannot help wondering...where DID I lose half my vacation???

But in spite of those missing two weeks, I think we did have a good vacation on the whole. We met lot of friends...some of them (4 in fact!!!) after 16 years! We had some real good outings with cousins...met a lot of relatives...and even managed to watch a movie.

So now back to toil...

Tagging on....

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A long overdue tag - tagged by Nancy.

The Rules are as follows..
1. Link the person who tagged you.
2. Mention the rules on your blog.
3. Tell 6 unspectacular quirks of yours.
4. Tag 6 following bloggers by linking them.
5. Leave a comment on each of the tagged blogger's blogs, letting them know that they have been tagged.

I'm not sure if these are quirks at goes...

1. I think in English and not my mother tongue and I'm not one of those people who do not know their mother tongue well... I have always spoken Malayalam at home and I'm good at talking, reading and writing it...but still I think in English!

2. I am a MAJOR day dreamer... and I day dream all the time that I'm not talking or listening or reading! ;) Especially when I'm in a car or bus... I have even day dreamt while I was driving pillion on a scooter! :D

3. I dream a lot in my sleep too...sometimes I wake up feeling I have never slept and have been running around all the time. When I was younger I could remember my dreams too... now I forget them most of the time...

4. I just LOVE courtroom novels and movies...Started with Perry Masons pretty young and later latched on to every Grisham I could find. While flipping through channels, if I see a courtroom scene anywhere (even in an old Hindi or Mallu movie) I get stuck! It's almost the same with thrillers and murder mysteries too...the investigative kind...not the gory kind..

5. If I get an interesting book (or a magazine), I cannot postpone reading it. I have even read books while cooking...I can read and make dosas...sometimes even chappathis...the bottle of oil or some tin would hold the book open! You should try it...makes cooking more interesting! ;)

6. I love babyfood! While in hostel, Colours and I used to get Farex or Cerelac from the shop in the campus and eat it in our room...Also at that time, I was using Johnson's baby soap and baby powder on doctor's advice to reduce my pimples..... I'm sure the shopkeeper thought one of us had a baby hidden in our hostel room!!! :O

7. I suddenly break in to dance while at home...When I was younger I used to dance more than I used walk at home... My grandma used to ask me to close the windows lest people outside think I'm mad!

Well..that wasn't so difficult...and I thought I wasn't quirky....maybe I'll find more if I think...but will stop with 7 for now! :)

No idea whom to tag...Colours, you want to try? And anyone else who reads this and hasn't done it already!

Light and Darkness...

Friday, July 25, 2008

I'm in Kerala for my annual holidays and I'm experiencing power cuts again.

Power cuts are like siblings to me. After all I grew up with them!

They are really not so bad. In fact, they are much better than the other power failures. Those are like unwanted guests that come at the least convenient moment and you never know how long they'll stay.

Imagine having come to the crucial part in your cooking, where you need to just grind and add that stuff and pop! goes the power! Or you are about to send an urgent mail and off goes the internet connection. You are watching the most interesting part in a movie and there it goes...only to be back the moment the movie is over! So I really cannot think of anything kind to say about those...but these planned 30 minute power cuts are different...

I have very pleasant memories of power cuts during my school days. It used to be a bonding time for the family. Thirty minutes every evening of keeping all your duties aside and just relaxing. We used to sit in the balcony and listen to all those sounds you never heard when there was power. Sounds of crickets and other insects, sound of the rain water falling on the roof, or dripping from the sunshade. My father and I used to play antakshari and word games or I used to describe the pranks the boys played in class that day or we both used to find some reason to pull my mother's legs.

Now, I'm staying with my mother in her apartment. I find that power cut has become a time for socializing here. The ladies from the apartments come out and sit on the stairs talking and laughing. The children have fun playing. Today, we had the kids give music and dance performances. Its fun time and the kids have started looking forward to those 30 minutes.

I must be getting soft in the head... I almost love power cuts now...It must be age!

Quite at Home!!!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A friend of mine made a profound statement yesterday. He said, “You seem to have all the comforts of Kerala out there in the Gulf and none of the crap”! Guess he was able to appreciate it living in Taiwan!

Anyway, it got me thinking and I guess he’s quite right. I have probably been blinded by the atrocious rents and the traffic blocks here…

Where else do you have the Lulu hyper market with every single one of the Kerala vegetables displayed beautifully? And get frozen version of the off-season vegetables. I got frozen ‘koorkka’ the last time I visited. Just open and fry…no washing, peeling or cooking…yummm….

Where else do you get plantain leaves for Onam and konna poo for Vishu?

And betel leaves and areca nut for joining a new music or dance class…

Where else can you shop in Malayalam and sometimes even conduct business meetings in Malayalam….

And listen to Mallu FM channels….

And get mota set (Mallu red rice and fish curry) in every nook and corner…

And watch the latest Mallu movie in the theatre…

And order food and grocery in Malayalam…

And get free Mallu movie on cable TV every week…

And have Malayalam taught in schools…

And have handsome Mallu doctors and comfortable Mallu sisters take care of you when you fall ill…

Most of these things I couldn’t get even in neighbouring Chennai for the 8 years I stayed there…

And all this without being bothered by hartals and bandhs every other day…without the dirty comments and looks (and worse) every time you step out…without worrying about getting home before it is dark…without getting frustrated with the absolute lack of progress around you…without mosquitoes buzzing around you carrying deadly virus…without power cuts and load shedding…without water shortage…without roads full of pot holes…without racing private buses…without breaking your head worrying how to save tax by investing the money you don’t have…

In spite of all this, if you still end up missing the monsoons, the greenery and the relatives, just book a ticket on a budget airline and be home in 4 hours…or get a month’s paid holiday every year with the airfare paid by the company…

No wonder so many people get permanent residence visas to Canada and Australia, and stay on here. I used to have this elitist contempt for the ‘Gulf Malayalee’ till I became one myself…

So have I inspired anyone to search for a job in the UAE and come over? I COULD do with some good friends here!!! :(

Bedtime Tales...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

My daughter has suddenly got fascinated by stories of the Hindu Gods. So every night it is my job to tell her one or two stories. Since I grew up on Amar Chitra Katha...and that too by reading each of them several is not too difficult a job to find a story to tell her every night. I used to correct my grandma when she made mistakes in the stories..hah! Right now we are on the Dashaavataar (Vishnu's not Kamal Haasan's!) so that I don't need to think until all the 10 avataars are over.

When I read these stories as a child, I had no problem believing any of them and don't remember feeling even an element of surprise at all the impossible things that happen in the stories. But now, telling the story as an adult, is so totally different. I find myself searching for rational explanations to most of the stuff.

Now, how does one find a rational explanation for some people using a mountain and a snake to churn the ocean...and then churn out amazing stuff like a beautiful maiden and a pot of nectar that gives immortality!!! And how does one explain a sea turtle so huge that it could lift the mountain...or a wild boar that went to hell and rescued the planet earth using it's tusk! I started the Ramayana yesterday, so now she thinks babies can be born by the mother having some kheer. I think I'd better give the Mahabharata a skip...rather than explain 100 sons of Drutharashtra born out of 100 pots...and the Pandavas born by just chanting a mantra!!!!

But I must say I enjoyed telling her the stories of the devotees...stories of Dhruva, Prahlada, Sudaama and that little boy who crossed the forest in Krishna's company every clearly conveys the message that having faith makes everything right in the end.

What is amazing is that she does not seem to be surprised at any of these irrational things. She is equally interested in space, the planets, the satellites and the weather...and can sit with a picture encyclopaedia for hours...and she also enjoys all these stories I tell her. The day she starts relating the two and asking me difficult questions I shall stop telling her stories!!!

Until then let me flaunt my knowledge and my memory!!! :D I'm enjoying the admiration in her eyes and the interest and anticipation on her face every night!!!

Skipped beats...

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Now I know what exactly people mean when they say their heart skipped a beat! Mine is doing that a lot these days.Before you all jump into any hasty conclusions, let me explain that this is not the pleasureable variety caused by handsome hunks. This is absolutely scary and freaked me out totally. You remember the feeling you get before an exam or an interview? Imagine having that feeling the whole day long. Imagine going through the whole day feeling like you are sitting outside the dentist's room waiting for that unsmiling nurse to call out your name!

Anyway, coming from a family of heart patients, I freaked out and rushed to a physician first and then to cardiologist. Well...after a series of tests of all kinds, it turns out that there is no problem with the heart so far. The doctor says these palpitations are harmless and the earlier I learn to ignore them the better. How does one ignore one's heart going beat-beat-gap-THUMP-beat-gap-THUMP-beat-beat-beat-gap-THUMP ???? Well, for now it looks like I've got to live with them.

So that's what I've been doing the last two weeks...getting myself poked on every available nerve for blood tests and getting tubes stuck all over me for ECGs and Echos. But I must say it is a relief knowing things are going on okay inside you... thank God for ultra sound!!! :D

Hopefully, all this will give me that extra motivation required to lose some weight and control my diet. I had just resumed dancing when all this started happening... so hopefully I can lose some weight while doing something I LOVE doing...

Will do another post about the dance classes...


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tagged by Nancy!!! Here goes....

I am: quite a normal person...and hence this is going to be a boring tag ...:(

I think: but I don't I stay happy...

I know: just enough to manage with...

I want: a little bit of everything...

I have: been very lucky....

I wish: I was taller..well...I manage quite well with platform heels...

I hate: crowds and loud noise...

I miss: my father...he went before I could know him as a normal person...he is still the worshipped figure on the pedestal...

I fear: mosquitoes in India...and all that they bring with them...

I feel: hot! Hey, it's June in Dubai!

I hear: my daughter, talking to herself... :)

I smell: nothing fishy....

I crave: for fun times with old we used to have in college...

I search: for the right dupatta...which is assuming I found the salwar AND the matching kameez.... you can imagine the mess

I wonder: at my husband's patience...

I regret: being lazy with house work.... :D

I love: words.....and admire people who have a way with them...

I ache: when my child falls ill...

I am not: moody or sulky....

I dance: all the time...if my body is still, I'm dancing in the mind...

I sing: only when my singer husband is not around...

I cry: while watching movies... sometimes even for the not so sad scenes....

I dont always: fight...even when I probably should...

I fight: fair...when I do... though I manage to avoid it most of the time...

I write: nothing...only type...

I win: arguments with my far....

I lose: track of stuff that I should finish doing...

I never: miss some birthdays...

I always: wear a watch...

I confuse: my husband by arguing both sides of a point....

I listen: to others....try it, you would get to hear some interesting things....

I can usually be found: grinning....

I need: to be liked...

I am happy about: who I am...

I imagine: the unimaginable.... and daydream the impossible.....

I tag: Colours and read2blew

Growing up???

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

What I’ve been dreading for a long time has happened! My daughter has started speaking about ‘it’! You don’t get what ‘it’ is? You know.... 'LOVE'!!!! She spoke of ‘love’! We go ‘I love you’, ‘you love me’ at home all the time to each other. This is not THAT ‘love’. This is the ‘other’ love… you know…the ‘love’ love…....‘luuuuuurrrrrrrrvvvvvvvveee’..*smirk* *giggle*

Okay, I shall stop rambling!

Well, my daughter has been very innocent all these days. She does not talk stuff beyond her age as some children do and does not pay overt attention to any ‘uncomfortable’ stuff on TV or the movies. Even when my hubby and I home, she gives us an indulgent look, shakes her head and goes back to her book. Anyway, I’ve been quite happy about the way she handles that stuff.

Now recently, one day, she comes from school and tells me, ‘You know Amma, today A was holding M’s hand. And P asked them if they are 'in love’. A, M and P are her best friends at school! And she didn’t say it just like that. When she said the ‘love’ part, she had a naughty look on her face and she whispered it in our ears as if it was some taboo topic! My husband and I did not know how to react for a second. Then, resisting the urge to laugh, we told her that, there is nothing so great about holding your friend’s hand. It’s the most natural thing in the world to do. Then she said, ‘but he is a boy!!!’. And I said, ‘So what? Boys can be your friends too’.

I do really want her to grow up feeling that way. I want her to feel comfortable having lot of friends, boys and girls. I want her to understand that boys and girls can be friends and can hold hands and there need not always be ‘love’ in the picture. It’s only when you have lot of platonic friends that you can really experience the thrill of finding a romance! Isn’t falling in love with a friend when you least expect it such a thrilling experience?

Well, the end result of all this is that nowadays I’m busy teaching my six year old daughter that it’s perfectly okay to have boy friends and to hold their hands! Do you think this will boomerang on me in, say, another ten years or so???

All in a day's work!

Phew! I feel like I've been running a relay where all the four runners are me! The last two weeks have been such that before I complete one task, I need to pick up the next and run! And each task required lot of preparation! So after lot of sleepless nights, neglecting the family and not blogging, I have finally got a small respite.

The trouble is there is nothing to show for all this work that goes in. Except the back and shoulder pain, of course! You get a prospect that looks good. You work day and night trying to answer all their questions, give several demos, study their requirements, work on the estimates, make a proposal that you think will suit them. Finally, they look at it and say 'too expensive'! Just like that!

You must remember that right from day one I’d have requested them, cajoled them and begged them to give me SOME idea of their budget. At least if their budget is low, we can avoid doing all this work! But no! Nobody tells their budget! They think that their budget is going to be higher than what we would quote and we will get a good deal out of them. Finally what is their budget? Some one-tenth of the price of our software! People here think ERP product can be bought like potatoes and tomatoes across the counter!

Well, it sure feels good to crib!!! Thank God my salary is not linked to the sales I make!

On top of all this, I go for two days to another country on an official trip, secretly wanting the hubby to realize all the work I’ve been doing at home while he sleeps in the mornings. I come back expecting him to throw up his hands and say, ‘oh, you superwoman! How have you been doing all this work all these years?’ And what do I find? Father and daughter content and happy in each others company! And the daughter shamelessly even says she didn’t miss me!

‘Kya family hai’….as Juhi Chawla says in one of those ads!

Dancing Genes

Friday, May 16, 2008

I am so thrilled! My daughter has started her Bharatanatyam classes!

When a daughter was born to us, my friends said..'Good... you can teach her dance AND music'. I have learnt South Indian classical dance forms for almost 15 years and done quite a bit of dancing in school and college and my husband is a very talented singer and even now a key bhajan singer at Sai bhajans. Our friends were quite convinced that our daughter will be a singer AND a dancer. But we were not so sure! We knew that each of us contributed only half of the chromosomes...and remembered what we were taught in school about dominant and recessive genes... what if she sang like me and danced like him!!!! Oh! The horror of it!!! So we used to give a sheepish smile to our enthusiastic friends and subtly change the topic!!!

As she grew older, we were able to make out that she has some talent for singing. My husband, who is the severest critic when it comes to music and singing, admitted that she seems to sing well with the right notes and all that. It is indeed high praise coming from him! If I happen to hum a song while doing my cooking or in the bathroom, he starts screaming 'Shruti! Shruti!!!'....making the listeners think that maybe he suddenly forgot his wife's name and remembered an ex-girlfriend... nooo... it's just that I'm singing all the wrong notes... ('shruti' means 'pitch/tone' )

I was relieved! Singing is the one thing I wish with all my heart I could do. So I was thrilled that my daughter has not got my singing chromosomes!!! Forget about dance... I can teach her music.. and who knows, when she grows old enough she might even win us an apartment or two worth crores of rupees in some musical reality show!!!

So I was busy looking out for some good music teacher and was not able to find any in Dubai. Oh, how I regret leaving Singara Chennai, the heaven for classical arts and artists!!!

And then one day, my daughter tells me that she wants to learn Bharatanatyam. She has a few friends learning it and has also watched on with interest when I get into one of my dancing moods and practice at home. But I was not so sure... unlike music, you really cannot make out the talent for dance until you start learning and performing. But still I made a half-hearted attempt at searching for a good dance teacher. I'm quite a critic when it comes to dance as well. My regret at leaving Chennai surfaced again... I used to live in Adyar...within kilometers from the greats like Padma Subrahmaniam, Dhananjayans and the famous Kalakshetra itself!

But two weeks back, luckily, I came across a good teacher and was even able to watch her perform on stage before my daughter started her classes. So finally, last week, my daughter went for her first dance class! It was so nostalgic to watch her give the 'dakshina' to the teacher and start her first steps...

From the looks of it, she is enjoying the classes and learning quite fast.... and even teaching the younger kid next door who is also going with her to the class... It's touching when she takes my advice on dance seriously and tells me...'Amma, even though my legs hurt a little, I still danced like you said I should'...or...'Today I watched the big kids and learnt some new you used to do when you were small'.

I don't like the idea of parents forcing their children to do the things they love to do (or could not do)... but I'm really glad that she would get to experience the beauty and grace of Indian classical dance.

Early Memories

Monday, May 12, 2008

This is because Nancy kind of tagged everyone who read her post on her earliest memories... here are mine... when I started thinking I found there were many...

Age 2-2.5
My friend A and I, both of us of the same age, running a race in the wide sit-out of my house. Me winning the race but hitting my face on the parapet wall and getting a blood clot on the front tooth...which stayed brown till I lost it at 5...

Pure Hearsay
Being very talkative and friendly, they say I used to stand at the gate and talk to all the people going on the road. On my second birthday, they say I stood at the gate and invited all and sundry for lunch, much to the horror of my mother.

Being an early talker and a very talkative child, I used to speak quite fluently by the time I was two-and-a-half. Whenever the conductor in the bus asked for my age (since the journey was free for kids below 3), I used to pipe in 'Why do they ALL want to know my age???', making the conductor very suspicious and my parents very embarrassed!

Age 3-4
Going to school in a cycle rickshaw with lot of other kids.

Standing on the window sill and having a conversation across the road with the boy next door. Being a few years older, he used to be terribly shy at having a little girl shout across the road telling him about her new bangles or chain...

Being told scary stories about the lady in white who sucks your blood by my cousin brother, 4 years older, who used to come over and stay during summer holidays. Waking up to his spooky voice going 'white sareee...looong hair'...and running to the kitchen screaming 'Ammaaaaaaa'...

Age 5
First day in Class one in a new school, heavy rains, yellow raincoat and butterflies in the stomach…

Climbing over the wall to play with J, my neighbor, also a 5 year old girl. We never used the gates to go to each other’s houses! Most of the time we used to play sitting on the wall, which was quite wide.

Eating half ripe guavas from the tree that stood in her house with salt and chilli powder stolen from the kitchen.

Well.. that WAS fun to do…and brought back lot of old memories!!! It sounds very different from the memories my daughter is going to have!!!

Not so popular...

"Welcome back...This hour, I'll be playing you 3 songs back- to-back-to-back from Jewel Thief, Dharmatma and Tumsa nahi dekha'.. that's Dev, the RJ on Pulse, the FM channel I listen to every morning on the way to office. I hope against hope that he will play 'Rula ke gaya sapna' from Jewel Thief... but is 'Aasman ke neeche...'! (sigh!) Not that I have anything against that song.. it's a lovely one. But I always find that in most movies, the songs I love are not the most popular ones. I love 'piya tose naina lage' and 'din dhal jaye' from Guide as against the more popular 'kaanton se kheench ke..' and 'gaata rahe mera dil'. I love 'nadiya kinare' from Abhimaan and not the most played 'tere mere milan ki yeh raina'... In Dil diya dard liya, I love 'Saawan aaye..' and 'phir teri kahani'..which I don't think I have heard any music channel play. And 'jurm - e - ulfat' from Taj mahal rather than 'Jo waada kiya'... There are so many more like this. Wonder why this is so? Could it be that the popular ones are played so often that we kind of get bored of them? I don't think so... because I could never tire of listening to some of these others... And those of you who don't know what in the world I'm talking about can skip this post.... :D ... and come back later........:-)

Summer showers!!!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

I feel like I have been drenched in a cool shower of summer rains!!! You are wondering how I can feel that way at 2:00 pm in May in Dubai???? No.. no... it is not another experiment conducted here by the Met. department that gave us some artificial rain a few days back! This is different... this is of the mind!!! This has come about as a result of a one-to-one rendezvous with a very handsome guy! Ah!! Now you all understand! At least the ladies do, I bet!!!

Hey, no! Don't raise your eyebrows at me! It is only fair!!!

Imagine roaming around in the scorching desert sun wearing a black blazer meeting strange people and convincing them to buy a software product. Imagine reaching 15 minutes late for meetings, thanks to the Dubai traffic and having to smile and apologize and tell them why they still need to like you and your product. Imagine keeping a sympathetic face while listening to them pour out their budgetary troubles and reasons why you should give them the 'best' price...while all the time your poor brain is working hard wondering what points to put forth to the boss and the sceptical people in India who give the estimates.Imagine working as a sales person who needs to give a good price to the prospects and win orders while actually you are a techno-functional person who knows what the product can (and cannot) do and how the same begging user would change colours and become absolutely demanding during the implementation phase!

So even though I am not young any more, on the wrong side of 30 and rushing at break-neck pace towards 40 (as PS put it in one of her posts)...I think it's okay to feel good about having a young, good looking guy listen to what I have to say with rapt attention for 2 whole hours, even though I was only talking about Master production schedules, chart of accounts and warehouse management!!! What do you say????

Forgotten Melodies...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Has it ever happened to you that you suddenly hear a song that you have totally forgotten about for years? It happened to me yesterday and I just loved it!!! I was on one of my official long drives with the FM channel playing. And suddenly, out of nowhere, they play an old song which used to be a favourite among us girls in the hostel. The song was 'tumhe ho na ho mujhko to itna yakeen hai... mujhe pyaar tumse nahi hai nahi hai'...sung by Runa Laila for the movie 'Gharonda'

It's a cute song where the girl tells the guy that she knows for sure that she is not in love with him...only she seems to love the things he says...and keeps finding excuses to meet him...and wants to just be near him...and so on...

I heard it after 10 years and found I could still remember all the lyrics as the song played along. We used to repeat it so many times every day!!! It's not an artistically great song...wonder why we all loved it so much...maybe at that age, most of us found something to identify ourselves with in the song! :))

Wonder if there are more such things buried in my head under the rubble of projects, prospects, proposals, shopping lists, telephone numbers and bills!!!

On Love and Common Interests

My husband and I just celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. It really doesn't feel like it has been that long.

While in college, I read M. Scott Peck's 'The Road Less Travelled'. It spoke of the difference between 'In Love' and 'Love'. It said that you would inevitably fall out of love with someone you are 'in love' with...and normally the crazy phase is replaced by a more stable and quiet phase which is 'love'. While you are excited, emotional and dependent while 'in love', the other feeling is stabler, stronger and more balanced. 'Love' is supposed to help the two partners grow together spiritually!

I don't know about spiritual growth, but my husband and I have certainly grown on each other.

We got married without the standard horoscope matching...and we were pretty sure initially that the 'horror scopes' would probably not match either. We were as different as two people could be, live samples of the Mars and Venus theory. He loved 'vanilla, strawberry, butterscotch' and I loved 'chocolate, chocolate, chocolate'! He loved movies with mindless action and mindless comedy while I was for thrillers, romantic comedies and drama. He could watch cricket 24X7 on TV and me, well... I liked watching lot of other stuff too..I read any book I got my hands on (If the book is really interesting, I can read it when I eat, cook, watch TV etc.)...he read nothing but the newspaper! I had too many friends and he had very few. He was crazy about cars and driving and for me every car was the same!!! He sang beautifully but he laughed if I as much as hummed a song !!! I loved dancing and he had two left feet!

But looking back, I guess living together harmoniously and happily doesn't really depend too much on having common interests.(Or maybe life would become too perfect then! ;) ) It only requires some genuine fondness for each other, respect for each other's feelings and the ability to forgive each other's faults.

Also, living together for so long has made us less different from each other. He loves chocolate now and thinks I do a good job of ordering food at a restaurant. I watch lots of cricket and know a little bit more about cars (though I still can't recognise most cars without going behind and looking at the name!!! How shameful!) 'My' friends have become 'our' friends. Even though we never pick the same movies when we go to the video shop, we still like most of the movies the other one picks and have a good time watching them together. We like the same kind of music and we admire the same artists. Well, he still laughs when I sing, but I also laugh when he dances, so that makes us even.

And I guess having a six year old, beautiful, lovable common interest doesn't hurt, either!!! :)))


Thursday, May 1, 2008

I'm reading 'Heidi' again. I first read it some 20 years ago when I was 11 or 12. I loved it then and I love it now. I brought it from my last visit home thinking I'll read it to my 6 year old daughter. But when I tried doing it, I realised that the version I have is a little too advanced to be read out to her. So I'm reading it and telling her the tale in detail every night. When I read the book as a child, I read it from Heidi's perspective. Along with her, I fell in love with the mountains, the fresh air, the goats and the fir trees. I thought goat's milk and roasted cheese must be the tastiest food in the whole world! When I read it as a teenager, I tried to find romance in Heidi's friendship with Peter. When I read it now, I find that it is a book on child psychology, one that could help parents and teachers. It tells you how to treat a child and how not to. The grandfather treats Heidi as an equal, patiently answers her questions, lets her grow up free and happy along with his goats and loves her in his silent way. In Frankfurt, Frau. Rottenmeir suppresses the child's natural inquisitiveness with her rules and restrictions, takes away the things she loves most and does not even realise that the child under her care is homesick.The book also gives us a glimpse of the inside of a child's mind with all it's complexities. The part where Heidi suppresses her homesickness and unhappiness just because she does not want to seem ungrateful to the nice family she is in, is unbearably touching. I believe that is how children are. In all their innocence and amidst all their pranks, they do understand some large concepts like love and gratitude, much better than many adults. They are kind to animals and old people, just like Heidi is, wanting nothing more than to take white rolls of bread to Peter's grandmother and make it 'light' for her again. They believe in God implicitly and trust Him completely. The children can also teach the elders a lesson or two, like Heidi did by helping her grandfather get his faith back. Why is it that most of these qualities diminish and disappear as they grow up? I have no idea... but I'd like to think that 'Heidi' is probably an answer to my desperate plea for a 'Parenting for dummies' book!!! :-) And anyone out there who has not read the book, please do it....doesn't really matter how old you are!!!

Parenting for dummies

Friday, April 25, 2008

Does it happen that when Moms blog, it ends up being something about their kids always? I'm sure it happens often. I think that's because kids are such great teachers. They make you think and change yourself for the better.

Last week, I found myself having fights and arguments with my daughter over something or the other every day. Most of these would end up in me losing my temper and screaming at her and her crying. Some of the times, I knew I was right. At other times, I wasn't too sure that I didn't just overreact. But every time, I knew that losing temper was not helping either of us.

After one of these bad fights, I suddenly realised what a bad example I was setting for my daughter. Normally, I'm an even tempered person and losing temper is pretty rare and happens only with my daughter when she is terribly bull-headed. But, she was unconsciously learning that losing temper and screaming like a banshee is okay. And also that, if you are REALLY angry, you can even throw some stuff around!(Yeah, I did that once too, I'm so ashamed! :-( ) I got a bad jolt! I certainly didn't want her to grow up an angry girl and become an angry, ill-tempered woman. And that too, because of me and my bad parenting!

I decided I needed to tell her that it's not right to lose temper and scream at people even if you did not agree with what they did. By then, we had both come to the stage of silent sulking. So, I said, 'Okay, there is no point in fighting. Let us stop fighting and be friends.' Then, we both had our evening showers, put on fresh night dresses and settled down to do the school work for the day. I told her that before we start, we should pray to God. I went first and said, 'God, forgive me for losing my temper and shouting. I know that it is bad manners to get angry, scream and throw things and I promise never to do this again.' From the corner of my eye, I could see her eyes open wide in wonder at what I was saying. She was clearly not expecting that! Once I finsihed, she suddenly came up to me and gave me a hug. She was feeling sorry for me that I had to let go of my ego and apologise, even if it was only to God. She sure knew how tough it was to say 'sorry'! She then said, 'It's bad to get angry, right? I know that too. That's why now I don't get angry with Aditi when I play with her. I share my toys with her and let her be 'teacher' when we play 'teacher..teacher'!'

I was not sure at all on how much truth there was in that last sentence, but I hoped it meant that the next time they played together, she would do what she said. And I went to sleep that night with a feeling that I haven't messed up too much........yet !!! Do we have a 'Parenting for Dummies' out there somewhere?

Happy (?) Birthday!

Friday, April 18, 2008

I've been going on long drives for some time now. In the UAE, driving from any one Emirate to another takes a minimum of an hour. I have to go to the different Emirates to give pre sales demos to prospects who are looking at buying my company's enterprise software. I enjoy these drives mainly because I don't need to drive on my own and can do my own stuff - last minute preparations, catching up with sleep, just looking out of the window, daydreaming, calling up friends. But most of the time, it is the FM channels here that keep me company.

City 101.6 is one of the most popular FM channels here, though I'm not a regular listener. I prefer channels that play old melodies and have less talking and more music. City 101.6 has a programme called 'Birthday Pappu'. What they do in the programme is wish someone on their birthday based on a request from a friend/relative. But the way they wish the person is by making an idiot out of him or her, 'Live on air'. Of course, once they have done that, they sing a birthday song, apologise and shower wonderful gifts on the 'Pappu'! But I wonder if the person is really able to enjoy the rest of his birthday after being made a fool of in the morning.

Well, anyway, yesterday I was listening to an episode of the Birthday Pappu. I was not sure what to think of it at the end of it. The whole thing was immensely funny and the RJ did a great job. But I also felt terribly sorry for the person who was being made a 'Pappu'.

Well, looks like this guy is a nice, serious, decent guy who has never done anything mischievous in his life! His sister wanted him to 'losen up' and conspired with the RJ to make a 'Pappu' out of him. This guy had recently gone to 'see' a girl and there are discussions on in both families regarding the wedding. The RJ poses as this girl and calls up. The families involved are conservative Muslim families. The girl makes the guy admit 'on air' that he liked her and says that she would like to meet and talk to him a couple of times before they take things forward. Since her parents are strict and she cannot leave home during the day, she asks him to come and meet her at night!!! The poor guy is shocked but does not know how to refuse. When he tries, she goes all coy and upset and says 'so you don't like me??' Finally he agrees to meet her and she asks him to come to her flat after the family is asleep and stand outside the door and meow like a cat!!! She even makes him practice a few 'meow's and ends the whole thing with 'main aapki meow ka intezaar karoongi' (I'll be waiting for your meow!!!!)

The whole thing was hilarious for the listeners, all right! But it must have been terrible for the guy. It was obvious throughout the programme that he is the silent, serious kind! Even after he was told it was all a joke, he was not laughing. He was very polite and was saying 'I see' and 'Thank you' . Neither did he laugh nor get angry.

Probably a sister is allowed to play such pranks on her brothers! Whatever be the guy's feelings about what happened, I think he just might have made a few female fans in the process! Girls like nice, decent guys....maybe because they are not so easy to come by!!! ;) Well, I certainly hope he finds a soulmate soon, like 'Sleepless in Seattle' did!!!

Happy New Year!!! :-)

Monday, April 14, 2008

I sincerely believe that posts in blogs should have some message for the people who read it. But if I want to keep updating the blog, I guess I have to just forget this feeling. I don't know when I'd be able to write something that conveys a meaningful message to people. So let me keep it a diary or a place to put down anything I like and then hope that anybody who comes across just likes it.

Today is Vishu (astronomical New year for the people of Kerala, India) and after several years, I prepared a Vishu 'Kani' (offering) at home. Vishu 'kani' is an offering which is a ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like rice, vegetables, yellow flowers, fresh linen, gold, metal mirror etc. The concept is that if you view this offering first thing in the morning on a New year day, you stay prosperous and happy throughout the year.

Yesterday, I was feeling quite guilty preparing the 'kani' because I did not have most of the mandatory items required for it. I decided to go ahead with it because a friend told me that it is the spirit that counts. And I was better off than her, because, staying in Belgium, she was planning to arrange a 'vishukkani' with candles (instead of the traditional lamp) and silk sari (instead of the traditional white linen of the Keralites) and with most of the other things missing. In the back of my mind, I still believe that if something is done, it should be done right. But I guess my daughter's thrill at being woken up and taken blindfolded to view the 'Kani' first thing in the morning kind of made it all quite worthwhile! In fact, when I explained it to her yesterday, she made me practice it with her several times!!! :)

I still remember Vishu when I was a child. 'Kani' was a big suspense because my mother used to prepare it only after I went to sleep. In the morning, opening my eyes, feeling the warmth of the lamps, and seeing the splendour of the 'kani' used to be quite a wonderful feeling. And then, all the money the elders used to give, the crackers and the sumptuous lunch in the afternoon...on the whole, Vishu was lot of fun. Only problem was that I had to get up early in the morning, and that too during the summer holidays. And my father used to insist that we have to burst crackers also before sunrise...while I would have been happy to go right back to sleep after seeing the 'kani' !!!!

Well, anyway, Happy New Year to people celebrating Vishu today! How crazy is it that we celebrate New Year thrice every year - once in January with the rest of the world, once for Vishu and once sometime in August or September which is actually the first day of the year according to the Malayalam calendar!!! :))))


Friday, April 11, 2008

"I'll not play Barbie or Princess games any more. I'm a big girl now! I'm in Grade 2" That's my 6 year old daughter to her friend who has come over to play with her. Her friend is one year younger to her!

I can't really say I'm happy that my daughter is growing up so fast! She used to be such a darling little baby! I miss her baby days now! The trouble is, even though I can clearly remember my childhood and school days, I cannot seem to remember too much in detail about things that happened 4-5 years ago. When I remember my daughter's baby days, what comes first to mind are those monthly visits to the doctor..that deadly fear I used to feel every time she falls sick...the days when she had one of her fevers and I used to just sit up and watch her sleep, afraid to fall asleep myself...the helplessness and tears when she was in pain and I couldn't do anything to help.Even when she was not sick, I had developed this habit of putting my hand to her forehead to check for fever!

And now that she doesn't fall ill so often, she is all grown up!!!!

That's not to say I don't enjoy the time I spend with her now. I do! Now, I'm kind of able to make out what kind of a person she would grow up to be... I can see her character developing! For the last one year, we have kind of become friends and have regular conversations and I feel she understands me. I guess that's the wonderful thing about having a daughter. I have a friend with two boys and she says she just does not know WHEN they will grow up!!! And looking at some of the men I know (my husband included ;)) I cannot really give her a consoling answer!

I find myself wondering often what I was like at my daughter's age. Most of the time I end up realising that she is a much better person that I used to be at the same age. She is selfless and affectionate. In the games that we play together, she really is upset when I lose...she wants me to win and I can see her trying to lose so that I can win. I don't remember being that way when I was a kid!!!

It gives me mixed feelings...I feel happy that she'll be wonderful person but I'm also scared that she'll get hurt giving up too much for the people she loves!!!


Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Well...after starting off with that last post, I found that I had absolutely no idea what I should blog about! Is there something called 'blogger's block' that I can use as an excuse?

I understand that the blog is an electronic version of a diary...but then aren't diaries supposed to be private? But I shall not complain. I am very much a people person. I like people and I like having people around me. I love to talk and also listen. So, in fact, the last one year when I've been working alone and not as part of a team has been quite strange. Some days I am all alone in the office and the peak team size in our office at any point in time is 3 people!!! If I did not have the internet and the option to chat with friends, I'd have probably gone mad!

Today is one of those days! I've been alone in office since morning and now it's almost time to leave. Couple of people from the partner company had come in the morning for a couple of hours of it was not too bad.

Also, today has been a day of phone calls and co ordinations. Sometimes it gets so crazy... I use the landline, the mobile, chat and voice chat all together. I use google chat and voice chat to interact with colleagues in India, I use telephone to talk to customers and colleagues here locally in the UAE. Today at one point in time I had 5 GTalk windows open, out of which one was on a call. The craziest thing is that out of these 5, 4 people are in the same team in India and are sitting next to each other or in neighbouring cubicles. So they chat with me and then tell each other what they told me on chat and then tell me on chat what they talked!!! Isn't it a crazy world today????? I still remember the thrill I felt when I could first open multiple windows in my computer and toggle between them!!! Guess that was Windows 3.0 or 3.1 or something!!!

What would tomorrow bring??? Wouldn't it be interesting to imagine?

Recently, a friend and I were laughing at the fact that we used to actually write letters to each other!!! And not that long ago either...must have been just 10 years back... I know there are people who feel that with all these new technologies, the beauty of communication that used to be there before, is lost. But I somehow don't agree. Even today when I get an unexpected mail or a chat window pops up with a 'Hi' from a special friend, I feel the same thrill! And I'm so glad I don't need to wait a week to know what my friend thinks about something I wrote in the letter.

But I have to admit that I'm old fashioned enough to still love complete sentences without cryptic 'sms' words. I still prefer sentences with correct grammar, spelling and punctuation!

Why am I here?

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I guessed I should start by putting down my thoughts on why I'm here! Being a software professional, I've been in the constant company of computers for the last 10-12 years! But again, being a software professional working in India in addition to being a wife and mother, never really got enough free time or opportunity to browse the internet for long all these years! Now, for the first time in 10 years, I find myself in a job that lets me do some amount of surfing. Being outside India, being one of the two member team in the branch office, working on pre sales and not software delivery or project management, all seem to help.

All right! I know what you’re thinking now! ‘Okay! So you are jobless and are online 24 hours! Does that mean you should start blogging?’. I guess not! I started trying my hand at writing a couple of years ago when I saw a lot of people posting their articles, stories and poetry in one of the internal public folders in our company. So I thought, why not me! Well I HAVE been an avid reader all my life albeit of mere fiction…and I love words and the way they come together in a language…and I love English, old and new.

So here I am!

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